Don’t beat yourself up about your finances. You might be surprised to hear you’re doing better than most people – especially if you’re doing these five things.

We’ve all have those friends or family members…the ones that seem to have it all. They take elaborate vacations every year, their kids are enrolled in a bunch of travel sports clubs, they have a nice house, a nice car, maybe even a nice little vacation home on a lake. We look at them and think, “I wish I had as much money as they do” or “I was as good with my money as they are.” We assume because they “have it all” they must be better at money than us mere mortals.

That’s a flawed way of thinking for a few reasons: you’re assuming their finances are in order and you’re assuming yours are not.

Outward appearances are just that. They are the image people present to the world, and there’s often no way of knowing if that outward appearance matches what’s going on out of sight. Someone with a nice house and nice cars and elaborate vacations could be financing it all through a whole lot of debt. Or possibly, came into some money by luck, chance or tragedy. You never know, so you can’t automatically believe that everything they have is earned through hard work or superior intelligence.

Secondly, you assume that you’re not in a better position because you haven’t don’t have much to show for it. You think you should be saving more. You should be making more. Those student loans you maxed out when you didn’t really need to still haunt you monthly. We’ve all made mistakes with our money. (Yes even our very own coaches have made some.) Even if you did, it doesn’t mean you’re bad with your money. In fact, you might not be giving yourself nearly enough credit for the progress you’re making right now.

Here are 5 signs that you’re doing better than you think when it comes to your money:

  1. You don’t overdraw your checking account. This is the first step to financial freedom. You have to stop the bleed from your bank accounts. That means understanding your income and expenses – the date you get paid, the amount you get paid, and which bills get paid so that you don’t overdraw your checking account.
  2. Your debt payments or credit card balances are trending down. Paying down debt is a good sign that you’re in control of your money, and that your bills are paid on time.
  3. You don’t lay awake at night worrying about money. You rest easy knowing your bills are paid and debt is decreasing. That family that you admire who “has it all” might not be able to say the same.
  4. You rarely experience buyer’s remorse. Every purchase is a calculated decision. You ask yourself: Is this purchase in my budget? Is this a want or a need? Most buyer’s remorse comes from quick decisions we make without thinking about the financial consequences, so if you’re pausing before you make those kinds of purchases, you’re doing ok.
  5. You’re saving for your future expenses and retirement. Once the bills are paid, the emergency account funded, and debt paid down, it’s time to start saving for future expenses like car repairs, travel, and retirement. This is when you start to see the real gains and maybe even feel like you might just know a thing or two about this money stuff after all.

All of these signs point to one thing:

YOU HAVE A PLAN.

And as we always say, having a plan is how we help our financial coaching clients get ahead. Each of your dollars is accounted for and has a job to do. It’s called budgeting, and if you’re successfully implementing and sticking to a budget, you’re doing far better with your money than most people. Don’t let those fancy cars fool you.